Bitten Episode Review 1×07 – “Stalking”
Despite its shortcomings, the episode raised a number of really interesting questions and possibilities as far as what they might have in store for the season finale. It was great as well to finally see more of Nick and watch him evolve so intensely, even though it unfortunately took a tragedy for that evolution to happen.
The clunky staging and direction of the action sequences were nowhere near as believable as they should have been, and considering they used the biggest one of them to kill off a core character, it made for a fairly big let down. That issue also affected the quality of the acting.
After weeks of their enemies dropping deadly hints about the true depth of their intention to destroy Jeremy’s pack, “Stalked” grabbed us all by the scruffs of our necks and thrust us headlong into the dark heart of the Danvers’ deadly battle against the Mutts. Courage was tested as Nick faced the very real prospect of losing his father after a brutal ambush aimed at Jeremy left Antonio fighting for his life, while Jeremy found himself fighting to maintain his hold on his own health long enough to lead his family in the battle for their survival. Indeed, for the first time since the loss of their beloved pack brother Pete, not everybody would come out of the conflict alive.
“Stalked” had a strong lead up, and going into it, we as the audience were brimming with questions, ideas and speculations as to what revelations the next chapter of this gritty story could hold. With that in mind, let’s jump in and take a look at the episode shall we, and find out if this week’s installment of Bitten really walked the stalk…
A New Face Arrives As An Old Flame Returns
Blonde, beautiful, sassy and flawless, Sylvie’s appearance would suggest that Elena may just have a contest on her hands for Philip’s affections; his smexy ex is nothing if not determined, it seems, to remind him of just how good they’d had it (not to mention just how many pieces of furniture on which they’d had it as well) once upon a time. This poses a few interesting questions, the least of which is not whether Elena will finally admit to herself which man she truly wants to be with: the gorgeous, grinning and blissfully oblivious Philip, or the smoldering, brooding and beautiful Clay. (Side note: Is it just me or is that not literally the best worst problem a girl has ever had in the entire history of the human or superhuman race?)
Sylvie: “You have to admit. We make a good team.”
Philip: “But not a good couple.”
Sylvie: “But we could’ve. You never really gave it a chance.”
Another area of interest here is that there are a few things either coming, or coming back, into Philip’s life in a way that seems far from coincidental. I mean, really? The guy is unwittingly dating a werewolf and his ad company just happens to hand him an account where the primary piece of media used to market for his new client is a video that just happens to be of his girlfriend (albeit in wolf form)? The more you watch – and especially after earlier moments like Santos surreptitiously gatecrashing Philip’s sisters wedding – the more you’d have to think that the mutts know a lot more than Elena would hope about her other life in Toronto. In which case, the more believable it is that they would strike her there at some point. Either way, Elena’s heart, courage and character are about to be fiercely tested on more emotional fronts than she realises, and it will be very interesting to see just how she steps up.
Casualties of War
The killing of Antonio was a pretty hard core plot twist for only seven episodes in. It’s the second pack member they’ve lost already in only a short amount of time, and that – coupled with the whole Jeremy scenario post-ambush – would suggest that they’re not planning on holding their aces til the last round: they’re just straight up playing them in a lot of ways, and this early in the piece I think that’s pretty bold, considering the uncertainty it raises and only seven episodes into the show’s first season. It will be interesting to see just how much of a resulting character shift will happen to Nick now, too. It felt like we said goodbye not just to Tonio at his deathbed, but also to the old, casually-breezy and sweetly carefree ‘young pup’ as Elena once teased Nick of being. In his place, it feels like a new warrior has been forged, and Santos may just find that while he’s put down one adversary in the father, he’s inadvertently raised an even greater one in the son.
Nick: “This is more than just killing a few mutts…I have the rest of my life to grieve. We all do. Right now, we need to go on the offensive.”
That said, the actual fight that took out Antonio and wounded Jeremy was a bit lackluster and, for me at least, fell flat in the camera work and staging departments. It could have been done so much better and unfortunately, this took something away from my viewing pleasure in that the staging ended up affecting how well those scenes were acted. The clunky, two-bit action sequences actually put a lot of unnecessary pressure on other gritty, emotional scenes to prop the episode back up again. In any case, it’s an area I hope they improved on moving forward.
Survival of The Fittest
Okay, okay, I know: at least the last three of these reviews have had Jeremy as a standout character, but in all fairness, yet again he does deserve it this week too. In the context of the story he has been the one who week in and week out, has shown the most evolution and depth of all the characters. I love how I really find myself learning something new about him every single episode, and yet still find him trustworthy. And above all others, he’s the one that makes us as the viewers most aware of the fact that however much we think we know, in reality we don’t know even the half of it. Indeed, if Clay is the smoldering, raw emotional ace in this wolf pack that draws us in to the show every week, then surely Jeremy is one of the constant primary points of intrigue that will keep us there.
What will be interesting to see though – and it certainly seems to have the fans talking – is to see what they do with Jeremy now that it would appear he is in mortal peril after the mutt ambush he barely escaped from. Killing him off would quite obviously be the worst decision they could make here – purely because he is just that dynamic a presence in this show – but it’s impossible to truly tell what direction it could all go at the moment, and I suppose at some point you have to trust that the writers and creator know what they’re doing.
Logan: “Listen to me. There is nothing – nothing – for you to be scared of. You’re fine, the baby’s fine and we’re fine. We’re better than fine. And I’m not going anywhere. I promise you that.”
The other character who had a big week this week was Logan, who has some serious decisions to make about his future now that his girlfriend is expecting their first child. Rachel of course has absolutely no clue about the extra-extraordinary gene pool her baby is about to be born out of, and one can only begin to imagine what her horror will look like when she finds out. In a poetic sort of echo, Logan had consoled Elena only a few episodes ago when she faced a similar crisis of conscience due to lying to Philip about her true nature. He told her then that he’d told Rachel pretty much everything about himself except that one big thing where he can morph into a ferocious supernatural wolf at whim, and that had worked for them so far. But he had to know that it was never, ever going be that easy. He has to know that at some point, Rachel will find out that her child is not the same as every other child, and that when she does it has the very real potential to make more than his world turn destructive.
All things considered – even despite the fight scenes falling well short of the standard they needed to be at – “Stalked” still left us with a lot of reasons to keep the faith that Bitten will not only survive the plot twists of this episode, but flourish. Grant Rosenberg’s script in regards to the deathbed scenes was actually pretty solid, even if the action sequences weren’t. That was particularly apparent especially when you compared the acting in those different scenes. The better material the actors had to work with, the more believable they were. Likewise, director T.W. Peacocke achieved some good onscreen moments amidst the cheesier ones (although if we’re being honest, there were a lot more cheesy moments this week than there should have been).
Despite the episode’s failings, “Stalked” still raised quite a few interesting questions. In this, they have set up a largely unpredictable premise for the season finale, and for my part, I am really excited by the prospect of that. Like most of you guys, I like the idea that at any given moment, this show could knock my socks off out of nowhere. Mostly because it’s a show that – when it does knock your socks off – it does that exact job so very well. So many questions, so much potential, and – most importantly – so many reasons for us as fans to stick around even though we’ve been completely shocked by this episode’s turn of events. For this reviewers part, she can’t wait to find out what’s in store for us next.
General Questions & Thoughts
- Elena said that Jeremy’s final collapse ‘can’t just be blood loss’. Is there something to that?
- What will the implications of this week’s events mean for the pack? Is Jeremy’s hold as Alpha now so weak that the status is more up for grabs than it’s ever been?
- Will this week’s turn of events cause Elena to finally choose Clay and the rest of her family over Philip? Will she stay and take care of them like Tonio asked?
- It was such a beautiful score in this week’s episode – probably my favourite of the whole season to date.
- How long does Logan think he can keep up the charade of domestic bliss he has with Rachel? At some point she’ll need to be told the truth – it will be the only way he can truly protect her and her child from danger.
- How much of a badass was Elena when she wolf-nailed the side of Cain’s pick up truck in order to bait him into fight?
- How will Nick cope and/or change with the tragedy of his father’s passing? What did Tonio whisper to him on his death bed that left Nick looking down into his dad’s dying eyes and saying thank you?
- Clay, honey? Yeah Aslan called and he wants his mane back. Seriously. Every time you shake that thing boy, I SWEAR somewhere a door to Narnia must fly open.
- How long will it be before Philip’s love for Elena – as well as plain ol’ curiosity – gets the better of him and he turns up in Stonehaven?
Bitten airs Saturdays on the Space Channel at 9|8c Mondays on SyFy at 8/7c